15 May 2016

Last days in Japan

My stay in Japan is coming to an end and I take this opportunity to stroll around Tokyo and visit the Ghibli museum.
Mitaka, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

After ten days in the wilderness, the return to civilization shocked me. It is almost too noisy, too busy. My stay in Japan is coming to an end. I barely have a week before I leave the land of the rising sun. Although I have a one-year visa, after six months of traveling to Japan, I want something else. There are so many things I love about this country but so many others that I do not understand and that make me feel uncomfortable. And then I feel alone. The language barrier is too big and I cannot overcome it. Rather than persists stupidly, I decided to look elsewhere. In this case, Australia. Six weeks including three with my parents to go explore my country of birth. For the rest I will see.

In the meantime I spend my last days visiting Enoshima, a tiny island not far from Tokyo in an almost torrential rain and wandering in the capital. With the cherry blossoms, my vision of the city is different from the one I had last November.

And then finally, one of the main objectives of my trip, I go visit to the Ghibli museum! It is there in the Mitaka district, the building where the vast majority of my favorite films have been filmed. Hayao Miyazaki is probably not far away. I am very excited when I get there and the emotion overwhelms me when I see the little Totoro figurines or the Laputa robots. Images of the films come back to me in waves. So much memories ! I walk through the museum several times, taking pleasure in walking through the decor, dazzled by the ton of preparatory drawings hanging on the walls. The beauty of the drawings leaves me speechless. If I could, I would buy them all. I also go to the screening of special short films visible only at the museum. Despite the fact that there are no subtitles, it is absolute happiness. I go to the small cafe and stop at the souvenir shop to empty my wallet of the few yen I have left. What a visit! But I still have one disappointment across my throat: it is too short !! And there is not enough content! In barely two hours I went around it. I expected something a little more consistent. In addition, photos are prohibited inside. But it is like that. I was finally able to set foot in the famous Ghibli museum.

At the end of April, I left Tokyo with a twinge in my heart and a feeling of deliverance. Maybe I was not ready enough for a trip to Japan. Not mature enough to accept and overcome difficulties. And then traveling alone for the first time in a country like Japan is a real challenge. I was half successful. My stay in Japan changed me and made me want to continue traveling. So I am going to follow this path that is opening in front of me and when I grow up, when I want to again, when I feel ready, I will come back to Japan. It is certain. There is so much to discover and understand that my journey in this country has only just begun. Mata ne!

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Chapter I. Japanese walkabouts

Mitaka, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Last days in Japan

My stay in Japan is coming to an end and I take this opportunity to stroll around Tokyo and visit the Ghibli museum.

Osaka, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Across the Kansai

Discovery of Osaka and Nara then weekend on Mount Koya-san before returning to TYK to celebrate hanami.

Takayama, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Takayama matsuri

Stars in my eyes at the superb Takayama Matsuri dedicated to the celebration of spring and good harvests.

Kyoto, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Glimpse of Kyoto

For my last day of work at TYK, I was treated to an organized day trip to Kyoto.

Kachigawa, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

In company of Polina

Meet Polina and her family, a young Russian woman working at TYK whom I met a fortnight before the end of my stay in Tajimi.

Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Touches of Spring in Tajimi

Second month of work in Tajimi more pleasant than the first and return of the buds and flowers in the trees.

TYK, Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Portraits of TYK

Portraits of some of the people I met during my two months of work at TYK.

TYK, Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Another vision of TYK

Through twenty photographs, a stroll to discover the factory and its graphic aspect.

Tajimi, Honshu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Tajimi and ceramics

Tajimi, an industrial city located in the prefecture of Gifu is renowned for its ceramics. I am working here since the beginning of February.

Naha, Okinawa, Ryukyu, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Gray weather in Okinawa

I land on the Ryukyu archipelago of which Okinawa is a part in increasingly bad weather.

Yufuin, Kyûshû, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Wwoofing in Yufuin

A month of volunteering in the middle of the onsen smokes in the small Youth Hostel Country Road.

Yufuin, Kyûshû, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Arrival on Kyûshû

Arrival on Kyûshû, cradle of Japanese civilization, where I will spend the month of December.

Minami, Shikoku, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

Minami, facing the sea

On the south coast of Shikoku, the small town of Minami exudes tranquility and a maritime atmosphere.

Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan © Claire Blumenfeld

First steps on Shikoku

Arrival in Tokushima on the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four big islands of Japan.

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